ACCESS4ALL is a research project led by Dr. Iskander De Bruycker and funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University. Read on to learn more about the project and exciting job opportunities!

Why Lobbying Access Matters

Interest groups, like NGOs and business associations, play a crucial role in representing diverse societal interests to policymakers. These groups act as bridges between the public and the state. However, concerns exist about equal access for all lobbyists.Current perceptions often portray lobbyists as a homogenous group, typically white, middle-aged, and well-educated men. Limited research suggests a concerning lack of diversity among lobbyists.

Consequences of Bias

If policymakers primarily interact with lobbyists from similar backgrounds, it can lead to:

  • Skewed Policy Outcomes: Policy decisions may favor specific societal segments, neglecting the needs of others.
  • Eroded Trust: Limited access for diverse voices can lead to citizen distrust and undermine the legitimacy of institutions.

ACCESS4ALL investigates the issue, delving into the question:

“How do lobbyists’ socio-demographic backgrounds impact their access to policymakers, and why?”

Our Approach

  • Similarity Attraction Theory: We explore this psychological theory within the context of lobbying for the first time. Our hypothesis: policymakers are more likely to meet with lobbyists who share similar characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, education).
  • Focus on the EU: We will create a comprehensive database of EU lobbyists and their socio-demographic profiles.
  • Research Methods: We will combine desk research, focus groups, surveys, and experiments to test our hypotheses.

The Goal: A More Inclusive EU Policy Landscape

ACCESS4ALL aims to cultivate a policy landscape where policymakers engage with lobbyists from all walks of life, promoting inclusivity and ensuring that policy outcomes reflect the diverse needs and perspectives of society. We strive to understand biases in access from a scientific perspective and produce cutting-edge research on the topic to inform positive change within the EU.

Join the Conversation!

Stay tuned for further updates on the ACCESS4ALL project’s scientific output, its team’s growth and its impact on promoting a more representative and democratic EU policy space.

VACANCIES!

  • 2 PhD positions on EU lobbying: click here for more information
  • 1 Postdoc position on EU lobbying: click here for more information
  • Student assistants wanted – contact us via email

More information?

Are you interested in more information or in one of our exciting positions but still have questions? Feel free to contact Dr. Iskander De Bruycker via i.debruycker@maastrichtuniversity.nl for more information.